Should teachers buy their own technology?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 | technology | 3 Comments

Yes, as a teacher you should acquire your own equipment.

If you have never used technology before, it is important that you become comfortable with it before trying to use it in the classroom.  Most people need time to adapt to the use of new things – it is not just a matter of taking a course, but rather one of practice, practice, practice.  Technology in your home – available all the time – will make the learning process much easier.

Even if you are at ease with technology it is advisable to possess your own equipment.  At home you can use it for admin functions, prepare lessons and create activities for your learners.  In this way you’ll derive far greater value from technology than when using it sporadically.

Acquiring a laptop or a personal computer is a good place to start.  The relative cost of these items is coming down and, while it may call for some sacrifice, you may find that you can afford some form of technology.

An investment in technology is one that you will never regret. 

A netbook is an affordable introduction to technology


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Make a difference

Saturday, September 20th, 2008 | training, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

While promoting the use of technology as a teaching and learning tool in schools, are you making a difference – or are you tied up by administrivia ?

The term administrivia is a combination of two words: adminis(trative) + trivia .

One definition is: the inordinate amount of detail required to administer or manage a network .

In some cases the word has a technical connotation, but often it also refers to the trivial administrative details that are consuming time, hence standing in the way of reaching important organizational objectives.

If you are a facilitator and your job is to help teachers to come to grips with technology, be careful not to be tied up with administrivia – the endless filling in of forms, writing reports, checking logs and other administrative tasks. These tasks may take up so much time that you may lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish.

Use each visit to a school to do at least one thing to move teachers closer to the goal of becoming e-competent. After your engagement:

  • Are the teachers better equipped to use technology?
  • Do they have a greater understanding of the role of ICT in education?
  • Are they empowered in some way to integrate technology inot the curriculum delivery process?

Days and months often pass by without any noticeable improvement in these areas.

Could it be that administrivia are standing in your way to make a difference?

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Laptops for South African teachers

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | Computer Usage | 3 Comments

Great excitement reigns – there is a prospect that all teachers in South Africa will receive notebook computers over the next few years.

Rumours that each one of the 340 000 teachers in the country will be issued with a laptop was sparked by a statement issued by the national Minister of Education earlier this year.

The buzz was increased when one of the labour unions claimed that a deal was brokered with the government to arm its members with laptop computers.

How is all this going to work?  Before getting too wound up about the laptop hand-outs, consider the small print.  Part of the rumour is that teachers may have to pay for their devices – or pay at least for part of it.

 Time will tell how (and if) teachers will benefit from this initiative.

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Computers – positive or negative?

Friday, September 5th, 2008 | Computer Usage | 2 Comments

There is sufficient evidence to support the notion that technology could help good teachers to become even better teachers.

It has been the experience of many educators that the judicious use of technology assists them to captivate the attention of learners, makes lessons more interesting, and generally enhances the classroom experience. This means: a positive effect on both teachers and learners.

But what about the impact of technology on teachers who are not in the “good” category? Here the outcomes are less dramatic; in fact, in many cases there will be a nil result. In the worst case, there may even be a negative upshot.

Negative effect?

Consider a situation where teachers use computers as baby-sitting devices. The teacher does not feel like teaching, or is ill-prepared for a lesson, and so learners are put in front of computers to keep themselves occupied. Are these learners not worse off than when the teacher is giving them a mediocre lecture? Would a poor lesson not be of more benefit to them than mere computer access?

Or what about the situation where teachers allow learners to roam the internet aimlessly, without giving any guidance? Are the possible negative effects outweighing the potential positive impact?

How could one turn these negatives into positives?

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